The Menswear Style Podcast

Gordon Bruce, Distillery Manager, anCnoc Whisky

May 17, 2022 Menswear Style Episode 177
The Menswear Style Podcast
Gordon Bruce, Distillery Manager, anCnoc Whisky
Show Notes Transcript

Gordon Bruce has been with Inverhouse Distillers for 34 years and joined anCnoc in 2006. Day to day - crafting the anCnoc range of whisky, welcoming visitors from around the world and, most recently hosting his podcast ‘Knock Tales’ from his desk at the distillery. A proud Keeper of the Quaich, he is passionate about craft in the truest sense of the word carrying on 125 years of traditional whisky making techniques at one of the most picturesque distilleries in Scotland. anCnoc is a highly respected whisky amongst enthusiasts and a welcoming dram for newcomers. They are known for producing a light, intriguing and thoroughly modern whisky using traditional hands-on methods. The signature whiskies, anCnoc 12 Year Old and Peatheart allow people to discover the lighter and darker notes of whisky within the one brand.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Gordon Bruce, Distillery Manager, anCnoc Whisky about his background and long whisky career. Peter Brooker and Gordon have a live tasting of anCnoc whiskies and discuss the different notes and flavour profiles. They also talk about the different occasions suitable for whisky drinking, how long a bottle will last once opened, and what is peated whisky.

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Support the show
PB:

Hello and welcome to another episode of the menswear style podcast. I'm your host Pete Brooker. Today I am talking to Gordon Bruce, the distillery manager at NOC do distillery producers of the award winning and knock whiskey. And do not whiskey is a highly respected whiskey amongst enthusiasts and a welcoming DRAM for newcomers. They are known for producing a light, intriguing and thoroughly modern whiskey using traditional hands on methods, the signature whiskies and not 12 year old and Pete Hart allow people to discover the lighter and darker notes of whiskey within the one brand. And it's a real fun chat that I have with Gordon, he's sent on some samples to me which was very nice of him and the team got to try the 12 year old the 18 year old and the 24 year old and the P ha and we're going to go through some of those notes the process and you know, get talking about whiskey in general so here it is. And here is Gordon Bruce to introduce himself and to us to the NOC do distillery and the anok whiskey

Unknown:

well Well my name is Gordon gross management not due to study been here for 16 years 12 years prior to that working balblair distillery and six and a half years before that worked and built me to stolen so often you must have you worked with whiskey all your life and the answer is No not yet. Not do is a very traditional very hands on stubborn they were sedated but I don't know north of Aberdeen northeast highlands of Scotland, fairly remote rural location. So we get 13 houses population between the in the village and the dissembling. We run the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week and run for 40 weeks this year. So it works for its key.

PB:

And so knock do is a distillery but there isn't a knock distillery there. I've got that.

Unknown:

That's right, they not do, as you probably know as garlic for black held, so that the helper that the story draws is water supplies in certain times a year ahead like Peters Blanc, it's just that the hammer like covers a saint and how there's another facility called the candle. So the names are very, very similar. So to avoid confusion between the disability as we change the name of our disbeliever, robot old product to our noc, which has gone for the helm, so we get the connection with the hell, we've clearly differentiate between the stones.

PB:

Okay, thanks for clearing that up. And you have a podcast yourself. I read here the NOC tails. And tell us a little bit about that.

Unknown:

Yeah, I'm not quite sure how to do that one, there must have been such a good fun on the most technophobic person I know. I really do not do technology at all, I suppose early days and COVID. We couldn't have guessed at this story. We can go to shows festivals and fairs and meet and greet people. And when we get such a buzz from you, as the biggest buyer hidden you see, suddenly, we're sitting there standing with a glass and harness something you've made. Well, it's good fun, I think a smile on my face. It's mostly good programmers think. So we needed to find a different way to connect the customer. So somebody came up with an idea for a podcast, we'll drag the shifter from the solo that was taken from the microphone level a couple of months. And it's been good. I've met so many people through

PB:

some conversations. Great. Well, we can find that I'm gonna go there after this and check it out on the website, by the way, and not.com. And you can spell that ANC NOC and have a listen to some cocktails. And yeah, very keen to hear about the conversations and the process. So

Unknown:

the best lessons after a couple of drums, I think, yeah, I

PB:

hope it's an interactive one where you're encouraged to take part. Talking about taking part so I mentioned that you were kind enough to send some samples on in front of me about the 12, the 18 and the 24. And the Pete heart, is this the entire portfolio for a no,

Unknown:

no a every now and again will will have an annual vintage release. And that's liquid from a specific calendar year. So we've actually got 2009 vintage and they're gorgeous. Now, a similar age, similar cast types to the 12 year old but just a little bit different, a slightly stronger non shell filled or natural colour. That's slightly different because it's just a little bit different. We don't do have an issue every year just when we've got liquid with Angus is is appropriate for our event each

PB:

year. Other vintages quite sought after I absolutely

Unknown:

adore them because they're all so different. If you can find 1995 and then the 99 or 2002 I would suggest you grab the 1990 names. There's like other Walking in double or throught there was such a lovely fruity astrally frequents really really nice

PB:

garden you got me going I've got a crack one of these open a drill yet I am salivating in the glass I'm just now a 12 year old is more of a pale liquidy describe that

Unknown:

is a good place to start

PB:

and a quick go on the nose here. Are you joining in Gordon? I hope I'm not drinking alone. Well, not so getting immediately some honey I don't know if that's the first thing you should be walking into. But

Unknown:

we all knows and tastes things slightly differently so there's never any right or wrong here. But yeah, I totally agree with you. I'm I'm begging the honey in the surface and the fruit Lords there as well.

PB:

Which is good. By the way whenever you go to a whiskey event when they say oh, you're never really wrong, so they don't actually look stupid when you go. I think I think I smell some figs like what? Each of the row. I mean I've got let me try a little.

Unknown:

So obviously the 12 year olds have learned early approachable whiskey it's such an easy whiskey to drink appeals to so many different people newcomers to whiskey, and as always experienced whiskey drinkers on Monday.

PB:

Yeah, very fruity. This one is actually really smooth. Would you mix this with any would you recommend mixing any of them with like a chase around?

Unknown:

That's a tricky one. Once again, that's a personal choice of whiskey cocktail in my part of the world is whiskey and three drops of water. But personal choice again the 12 year olds bottle the Florida percent alcohol by volume, chill filtered, it's got a little strength first and I wouldn't put anything near that.

PB:

It's quite multi as well. I think people will appreciate that. It's like it's a quite an approachable whiskey. I mean, I've only just had a little sip there but it's becoming a bit more ish. I don't know if that's because of the honey that maybe it's coming in and you know, it's got quite a soft approach to it.

Unknown:

drives you out and makes you want to take a second serve isn't my only complaint with a 12 year old is too easy to drink. You go whoa, Oklahoma tends to get in fairly quickly.

PB:

Yeah, no, that is nice. bit of chocolate. They're really smooth, dangerously smooth. Powered, say Gordon, what kind of occasion would you take this whiskey to at a mini maybe a dinner party or maybe a barbecue? Do you ever think about these things in terms of how you might gift this or present this in a in a situation?

Unknown:

It's a it's a whiskey for lovely occasion. I think we both agree this is approachable, it's super easy to drink from the four year half of the night. If I went home from work on a Tuesday night, I just I just found safe whiskey nights. I don't feel the need to sit down and sniff it and analyse that thing to death just pour it drink and enjoy it. Well 12 minutes give it

PB:

all overlap but I'm gonna just seal it up here the little sample but I'll have to finish that I gave myself a very generous dose of this I might have to take it a bit easier on the other ones but come out of the traps flying that one. Now moving on to the 18 year old

Unknown:

so it was just a wee bit different this whiskey spent the first 16 years of his life during an ex bourbon casks and then we did in the liquid mature liquid transfer and Flash Fill oceanic ask for further two years. So we're getting the best of both worlds we're we're ideally we're gonna make lots of toffee and vanilla notes from the bourbon casks in that space in this and that's such a drive for a flip from the chalet. Ganske slightly stronger is gone is a slightly 46% alcohol by volume and natural colour with colour it's all come from the casks has been matured and non chill filtered. So if you if you get that bottle of whiskey, they're very cool. They don't have cooled room, you've got the potential for he's the foreman ball, right? It's not a problem. It's a natural occurrence as long chain fighting us this there's a committed solution that a low temperature warms up. It'll do anything again, there's no problem

PB:

now. I've heard that you can leave the whiskey. It doesn't have any effect once it's open, very innocuous actually. So you can open a bottle of whiskey and maybe go back to it eight months later. And you know that's not going to do anything else in the bottle.

Unknown:

We've got a house rule at home we've got a sharp in the drinks cabinet. So when we open a bottle of whiskey, the deacons scribbled on it, and that bottle gets to live for no longer than one year. The fruitiness you're smelling from the glass from the 12 year old from the minerals has been Lester's esters are bound to alcohol. And every time you open the cord to that ball, you're losing a little bit but you're also losing so you're laying your oxygen in the bottle so the liquids can stand in boxes and it's really really smoothly as well. So it will change over time once it's been opened. It

PB:

does that in the bottle over to Is that the angel share? Have I got that right?

Unknown:

Angel shares actually much relation loss asks in material in the warehouse, because words very, very slight with poreless we're allowed to lose 2%. In the previous years contents of that come UPS purely through evaporation. So brand brand new Quisque is totally clear, totally colour lights, performance pool poured into the cast to mature to light. And so the law says we're not allowed to go and Scotch whiskey and delight numix has been on a wooden barrel maturing in Scotland for at least three years in one day. Right? That's right. So the age and the label of these whiskies to make the 12 year old, the age of the youngest whiskey and the 12 year olds is 12. We've also got some slightly older whiskies maybe some 1314 15 year old whiskies and then as well, right and that less let us have the consistency that we're looking for. Alright, so you buy a bottle a 12 year old this week, it should be the same as I've bought the 12 year old you bought this time last year.

PB:

Let me let me have a go on this 18. Yeah, I would suggest that

Unknown:

we sniff and the reset as it is with Omar. And for me, this will quite happily take one couple of drops, but he that's a personal thing.

PB:

Again, there's quite a bit of lemon. I'm getting a bit of water here but he's a bit more herbaceous. It's a bit more direct a

Unknown:

lot more cask influence with this one as well.

PB:

With a bit of water and I'm out. Like I was saying off, Mike, I'm out of the game a little bit, Gordon, because I took a long time off drinking whiskey. So I've not really got back in the saddles properly should say

Unknown:

you didn't see or making up for lost time. I

PB:

feel like I haven't got much fit. You know, I'm still carrying around a bit of holiday weight when it comes to whiskey drinking and need to get a bit more sharp before we get in the ring. Is there one that you're really proud of? I know we'll get on to the 24 and repeat it but is there one that you gravitate towards more than any other

Unknown:

watchings that's such a difficult question. It's about like being asked, Do you have a favourite child or a favourite dog? We all do all this do we do? Yeah, yeah. But you would never tell the other ones. Because it's such a mood drink. It depends. What you want to drink is how your hands working, who you're with how your day is gone. So Tuesday night whiskey for me 12 year old metal we're good friends come and ruin the flying and I want to have economic eating you know it's great. Side and 824 year old switch the form off. Leave me alone. This is my time we're all 24 year olds a drum just want to pour sniff instead of half the pleasure that isn't isn't the note. And there's a nice side and a new girlfriend's coming home with a fire pit and BBQ pit hard whiskey and a stinky blue cheese clinic combination.

PB:

Oh, get the cheese out. Now currently, there's it's not it's coming alive. But that was yeah, that was really nice. And

Unknown:

the DNA is there, the similarities are there between the 12 year old and an 18 year old. We don't want something that's so heavily influenced by the cast that's mature then that it could be anything. So we are looking for consistency equality in a unique spotlight. That's what we strive for the whole year round, we want to make a super consistent spotlight. We're very, very fussy about the casks that we use, we know what we're going to get from the cast maturation weighs 1012 1415 20 years.

PB:

So what's your I mean, I know it's more of a way of life than a nine to five. But if you had any kind of day where there was a similar structure to the next, what would be your typical day in the office?

Unknown:

There's probably no such thing as a typical day. That's the beauty of this job. I've been doing this for a long time. And every day is a school name. And our main raw materials malting barley, barley is a living thing. So that's going to change. Oh, yeah. So it depends on the barn live on it. Where you're born from what the sun gods are doing the external temperatures. So the solar system I agree Toybox. It's a plaything. And it's great fun to tweak it. Just just ease the process a wee bit. I'm just trying to the best things I shouldn't say I'd like to touch with let's see this because the police runs 20 471 Call 24/7. So the telephones old better than maybe Dutch will again, places play reliable these days. It's a very tidy, we'll organise week long, but it's sometimes actually good to get a breakdown or something going wrong. And it just forces you to think that we just need to try and find a different solution or maybe the London plant and Ireland slightly weird. It just makes you think of investment.

PB:

Right keeps you on your toes.

Unknown:

It does Yeah.

PB:

Do you get to travel a lot.

Unknown:

We used to you were done. Sweden is our biggest single market. So regular trips to Sweden and Sweden is paid to feed and educate my children and dogs. So, Scott, thank you very much Sweden. I also want to Volvo state to save

PB:

some money back into the bargain

Unknown:

yeah so we did our number one market inverter got a good outcome Sweden possibly potentially something to do with the packaging if you see pictures that lie in in the website and the website is very clean stylish the packaging almost looks Scandinavian and Swedish whiskey market is absolutely massive you can only buy through the state run the stores they've got a monopoly across the the system works really really well. I'm really good range of products, places that are okay maybe slightly higher in the UK but they're not able there's one system that the products are all very well clearly explained on the shelves. But you're gonna get they do it so well. We organise things. So well on this company, what

PB:

do they export?

Unknown:

Yeah, there's there's a couple of criteria distillers you'll make Neela high cost used to be box van will be Island, a street between Sweden and Denmark in a very good distillery costing,

PB:

I was just wondering if they're like the Swiss and the Austrians with their wine, they make it and then they keep it.

Unknown:

But they also find a lot from us.

PB:

That's good news. That's good news. Moving on to the 24 put in half a drum into the glass here giving us well, noticing the colour is a little lighter than the 18

Unknown:

that bunch of 18 that you've joined tonight is probably slightly darker than we were really aiming for. And that's just down to the individual individuality of the casks that we've used. We've got far more shoddy Mbyte from that partial cast than we expected 24 to 21 years in bourbon and a full three years he made sure they can't see another see that's my side and they sniff sniff and half the pleasure this phone system and also you got decent gloves really appreciate it.

PB:

This is delicious. It has like a wintry vibe okay even on the know that kind of reminds me of queuing for ice skating rinks and and doing things in the cold. Not sure if I'm selling this for you sorry if

Unknown:

not, we'll probably get a concert there. This is one that I would enjoy in front of a fire in the long burn I go on site and

PB:

it has a romantic feel to it. Yeah,

Unknown:

wet dog lining and feeds. Yeah, I was thinking a white spaniel.

PB:

Like the toffee is coming through on this

Unknown:

toffee Christmas cake we're still gonna surface in the background might as

PB:

well say Christmas cake maybe that's where by osmosis the Christmas element there wintry fields coming in that kind of that that vibe of like after dinner. And yeah, I think you you're on the money this is you have to spend time alone with this. This is a this is an intimate affair rather than having a party with him. I would say I think this deserves a bit more exclusivity I really liked this. I think this is probably my favourite so far. But I'm I'm very sold on the idea of just having some time alone with this. I like the idea of not having to entertain you know, a whole group of people want to have this in my hands. So the 24 year old so far the leader in the clubhouse for me. I'm just gonna put that aside there is some still left in the glass, but I don't want to just gobble that up. I want to give that some time alone, but I do desperately want to try the peated whiskey while I have you on the phone. Slight confession. I think peated Whiskey is my favourite. How is the peat? How does a peated whiskey come about

Unknown:

the early part of the moulding process when the green malt goes the kalam the monsters will use peat burning peat. Generally heaps and heaps and heaps of peat smoke. And when the green moths is very wet, it's got the ability to suck in Smoke females so it will absorb and the females can also stick the husk as well. The important thing with this beat is we use an Aberdeen Sharpie is a local peat. No a lot of people do not like the whiskies because they've had that ala TCP medicinal ID and experience. Aberdeen show Pete's got a very low level of that component that gives us that TCP effect. It's more of a barbecue wood fire wood ash beats more commercial. And I think it just balances so well with a freshness the fruitiness that we've we've gone through they're not really

PB:

do other distilleries buy your peated barley, your PCP?

Unknown:

No, we don't make our malt or own malt on site anymore. We buy from commercial sources as a specialist industry. Right so there's a couple guys up this way that will make emailed love make it to your specification as well. So this one's quite clear clap appeal liquid, it's only been matured in ex bourbon casks.

PB:

Yeah, this is very interesting.

Unknown:

I think this is the one you're going to notice the biggest difference when you backup my daughter Waterland. Right? For me, it really enhances releases some of that small.

PB:

Just a couple of drops. Yeah, yeah.

Unknown:

And then you're submitted 30 Very sweet on the tongue.

PB:

That softens it up about I don't know if it makes it any more enjoy but I'd quite like it with without the water

Unknown:

so that they think that I'm a stinky mu cheese from oh gosh, made in heaven. A lot for stolen restaurants don't quite agree. Combination

PB:

are gone. This is fantastic. I've enjoyed this. If I had to pick a winner. It's yeah, like it's strange. You can't really pick one because I wouldn't want to drink the 24 You know, every night, I'd want to have to go to that as a like a special go to. But I really enjoyed the 12 yard I think that's got a great, great feel to it. The 24 I think is definitely the high flyer. But they're the peated whisky I'm, I'm I'm just all over that I can just almost see myself in the garden, you know, passing that around a couple of friends in the party with the dogs yapping by my heels. I think that's definitely one that I'm going to be taking some time to get to know better. I think if everybody else wants to get to know the brand better than they should definitely go to the website. Once again and knock.com. We'll put all the links over on the show notes at menswear style. But let me just spell that for you again. ANC noc.com Gordon has been an absolute pleasure. How often do you get to London

Unknown:

once and 57 years?

PB:

Wow. Okay, so I've got come to Aberdeen then to buy you a drink. That must happen in the near future. In the meantime, thanks so much for taking time. Thanks so much for walking us through these wonderful whiskies and all the best for the future.

Unknown:

It's been a pleasure. Thanks for having me on tonight. Peter Sanjeeva.

PB:

You've been listening to their menswear style podcast be sure to head over to menswear style dot code at uk for more menswear content and email info at menswear style dot code at UK if you'd like to be a future guest on the show. Finally, please help support the show by leaving a review on iTunes or wherever you're listening to this podcast. Until next time